In 2005, the company decided to go in for Just Catch technology in a big way. Aker Kværner has established a major development project in collaboration with 12 industrial partners and Gassnova.
“This project has enabled us to identify several technical improvements that would be capable of reducing both the construction and operating costs of such CO2 capture plants,” says Oscar Fredrik Graff, gas technology director at Aker Kværner.
According to Graff, the technical improvements identified by the company can be summarised as follows:
• Development and testing of optimum amine mixtures for different CO2 sources
• Efficient integration of heat into the process
• Selection of new types of pumps and heat exchangers
• More compact and efficient plants
• Minimising the environmental impact of the plant.
It is on the first of these items that Aker Kværner is about to expand its ongoing cooperation with SINTEF and NTNU.
“In the course of the past six months we have considered a number of different partners in amine development. We analysed several international players in this field, and finally came to the conclusion that SINTEF and NTNU could offer us the best support in this task. Choosing the best amine mixture is vital in plants of this sort. The right choice will offer stable operating conditions, and reduce energy requirements and other operating costs. Now we are looking forward to full-speed cooperation with SINTEF and NTNU,” says Graff.
Aker Kværner already has around 40 engineers working on the development of Just Catch technology, in addition to partners and other suppliers engaged by the company.
“This is a historic effort for our company, and it has made going to work really enjoyable. Every day I meet colleagues who say that they are “working for the climate,” says Graff. Aker Kværner has also received massive support from the Norwegian Industry employers organisation, the Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions and the environmental organisations.
Aker Kværner is also developing a special version of its Just Catch technology that uses biomass to produce the energy needed for CO2 capture.
The scrubbing plant would normally use energy from the power station. By scrubbing both the power station’s flue gases and those from the bio-energy plant, the scrubber will also remove “natural” CO2, i.e. CO2 that the timber in the fuel would otherwise have released in the course of its natural breakdown.
This solution, known as Just Catch Bio, is thus potentially capable of removing 116% of the CO2 emissions from a gas-fired power station.
Can be retrofitted
“One advantage of Just Catch technology is that it can be retrofitted to existing power stations. If the cuts in CO2 emission that many countries are aiming for are to have any credibility, they will require flue gases from existing plants to be scrubbed on a large scale. This will open up a large market for this technology,” says Graff.
The Just Catch technology can be utilised on a wide range of sources of CO2, such as those from gas- and coal-fired power stations, biopower, refineries and the cement industry.